PETALING JAYA, Aug 15 — Filmmaker Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba denied today that her latest movie “Tanda Putera” was promoting a pro-Malay agenda or featured a character based on DAP lawmaker Lim Kit Siang in a negative light in scenes depicting the May 13, 1969 race riots, as suggested by some Umno blogs to the chagrin of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders.
‘Tanda Putera’ not Malay propaganda, doesn’t feature Kit Siang, says director
The award-winning director’s controversial retelling of the administrations of Malaysia’s first two prime ministers amid the bloody May 13, 1969 race riots has been heavily criticised by some PR politicians for its allegedly historically inaccurate depictions.
“This is not a movie to raise dissent. It is one to bring people together. It is just a movie about two great men. If they are from Umno, that’s just history. If they are also Malay, it is also our history.
“We are filmmakers, not an organ to produce propaganda,” Shuhaimi said in a news conference today.
Several film critics have accused the RM4.8 million movie — fully funded by the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) and the Multimedia Development Corporation (Mdec) — of demonising early leftist movements and of being more about hero worship than a proper tribute to the country’s second prime minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who was also father to the current PM, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The trailer for the movie is reported to show scenes of Chinese groups marching through the streets of Kuala Lumpur after the success of the opposition parties in municipal elections carrying the Labour Party flag and other banners bearing anti-Malay slogans.
The banners written in Chinese characters depicted slogans that translated into “Malays go back to the village”, “Malays go die” and “Take revenge”.
There also have been unverified reports that the film also shows Lim, the DAP parliamentary leader, desecrating a Malaysian flag — which the filmmaker has denied.“There have been allegations that the character of a prominent DAP leader has been featured in this film. We would like to reiterate that there is no such character in ‘Tanda Putera.’
“Those pictures were sent and shared by people and are widely available online. But that scene is not in the movie,” Shuhaimi said.
“Since the release of the film’s 90-second trailer, many baffling, false and baseless accusations have been made about the film on the internet by those who have obviously not seen the film and are not the usual patrons of local films,” she added.
The director said much research had gone into ensuring her film was historically accurate.
“We referred to files, the NOC report,” she said, referring to the National Operations Council that was set up at the time to deal with the fallout from the race riots and headed by Abdul Razak.
She said the movie’s research team had also interviewed former Inspector-General of Police Tun Hanif Omar as well as consultants representing both Abdul Razak’s and Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman’s families. Dr Ismail was the then home minister.
Shuhaimi told reporters the production house was also willing to screen “Tanda Putera” for PR leaders but not for the content to be re-evaluated.
Tanda Putera tiada kaitan dengan Kit Siang
Ini hanya satu tuduhan palsu dan tidak berasas yang dilemparkan pihak tidak bertanggungjawab.
Pengarah dan juga Penerbitnya Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba berkata, dakwaan wujudnya watak yang menggambarkan Kit Siang itu hanya satu tuduhan palsu dan tidak berasas yang dilemparkan pihak tidak bertanggungjawab.
“Kami telah beberapa kali menjelaskan dan ingin mengulangi bahawa tidak ada pemimpin DAP itu dalam filem Tanda Putera,” katanya dalam sidang media di sini hari ini.
Beliau menegaskan, adegan berkaitan peristiwa sekitar 13 Mei memakan masa hanya selama 10 minit daripada filem berdurasi 115 minit itu.
Katanya, adegan 13 Mei itu hanya merupakan latar kepada cerita utama bagi menjelaskan punca mantan Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Ismail yang bersara terpaksa kembali menyertai Kabinet.
Oleh itu, beliau mahu sebarang ugutan dan serangan oeribadi keatas penerbit, pengarah dan pelakon filemnya dihentikan serta-merta.
Katanya, disebabkan kontroversi itu semua krew produksi termasuk dirinya mendapat tekanan hebat apabila dicerca dan diugut menggunakan kata-kata kesat dan rasis dalam laman sosial Facebook.
“Serangan berterusan ini memberi tekanan berat kepada tenaga penerbitan serta artis filem Tanda Putera,” katanya.
Kit Siang dalam responnya sebelum ini turut keras menafikan dirinya terlibat dalam rusuhan 13 Mei kerana pada ketika itu berada di Kota Kinabalu, Sabah pada 10 hingga 13 Mei 1969.
“Ini hak kreatif kami dan kami tidak akan tunduk dengan mana-mana pihak yang sengaja mahu filem ini diboikot,” katanya.
Ditanya tentang hasrat beberapa pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat yang mahu menghadiri pra-tonton filem ini bagi penilaian semula, Shuhaimi berkata pihaknya tidak dapat menunaikan permintaan itu kerana ianya membabitkan kos tinggi dan terhad hanya kepada wakil media, artis yang terlibat serta keluarga, rakan-rakan, wakil penaja, dan bahagian pemasaran sahaja.
Tanda Putera mengisahkan persahabatan akrab antara Perdana Menteri Kedua, Tun Abdul Razak dan Timbalannya Tun Dr Ismail yang terpaksa berahsia dan mengetepikan masalah kesihatan masing-masing demi perjuangan memulihkan keadaan negara ekoran peristiwa hitam 13 Mei 1969.
Filem yang mendapat kelulusan Lembaga Penapisan Filem (LPF) dengan sijil PG13 ini dibintangi Rusdi Ramli (Tun Abdul Razak), Zizan Nin (Tun Dr Ismail), Faezah Elai (Toh Puan Rahah) dan Linda Hashim (Toh Puan Norashikin).
Pembikinan filem hasil kerjasama Pesona Pictures dengan Perbadanan Kemajuan Filem Nasional Malaysia (Finas) serta Perbadanan Kemajuan Multimedia (MDeC) ini turut menelan belanja kos RM4.8 juta termasuk promosi.
’Tanda Putera’ film to hit cinemas on Nov 15, says Shuhaimi
PETALING JAYA- AWARD-WINNING filmmaker Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba’s historical film, Tanda Putera, is set for screening in cinemas nationwide on Nov 15.
Shuhaimi said the new date was fixed by the National Film Development Corporation (Finas).
“The postponement to September is not an issue with us and we are happy with this new date.
“We believe the start of the school holidays will be the best time for the film’s release and allows us more time to plan our promotions. We thank Finas for taking this lead.”
The film, produced by Shuhaimi’s company Pesona Pictures and Finas, was originally slated for Sept 13.
It is about the final years of second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and second Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, who both worked hard to restore unity and stability to Malaysia after the May 13, 1969, political violence.
Both men braved serious illnesses to concentrate on national development, modernisation and unity.
The film, she said celebrated the relentless human spirit and sacrifices of the two great statesmen and patriots.
Tanda Putera had been approved for screening by the Malaysian Censorship Board with a PG13 certificate, she added.
“There have been calls by certain political parties to preview the film for reevaluation and we would like to thank them for their interest. However, we would like to clarify that sneak previews are only held for focus groups, the media, artistes and marketing partners. The sneak previews are costly and we are unable to accommodate all requests,” she said.
Shuhaimi refuted allegations that the character of a prominent Democratic Action Party (DAP) leader was featured in the film. “We would like to reiterate that there is no such character in the film.”
She also lamented that since the release of the film’s 90-second trailer last month, many baffling, false and baseless accusations had been hurled against the film on the Internet, with some calling for a boycott.
“These unfair attacks have been a source of great stress to the Tanda Putera team and as such, we are most gratified to have received tremendous support from film enthusiasts as well as those who have actually seen the film either through focus group screenings or sneak previews,” she said.
Shuhaimi added the scenes of May 13 made up about 10 minutes of the 115-minute film and were merely the backdrop to the story of Dr Ismail coming out of retirement and joining Abdul Razak’s cabinet.
“The main story is about Abdul Razak and Dr Ismail, their friendship and struggles in healing the nation after the violence until their untimely passing.”
She said Pesona would like to call for an end to personal threats and attacks against the cast and crew of Tanda Putera and urge the public not to be influenced by deliberate misrepresentations of the film’s trailer.
“Please watch the movie and make up your own conclusions,” she said.
“The film is our interpretation of the events after some intensive research. It is our creative expression and we urge all parties to respect our right to do this as filmmakers.”
She described her film as a unifying one because it highlighted Abdul Razak’s and Dr Ismail’s belief in the spirit of Bangsa Malaysia.
– New Straits Times
Time to bury 1969 bloodbath, says Umno vet
Assistant News Editor
PETALING JAYA, Aug 20 — Umno veteran Datuk Mazlan Harun wants the public to lay to rest the ghost of a 1969 racial bloodbath amid the political hype surrounding local film “Tanda Putera” — a controversial narrrative of the country’s most tumultous period — that could threaten the country’s unity in the run-up to national polls due next year.The son of the then Selangor mentri besar, Mazlan opened up to The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview last week over reports of an incident at his father’s home that several pro-Umno bloggers have levelled against DAP heavyweight Lim Kit Siang, as proof that the opposition figure had masterminded racial provocation leading to the May 13, 1969 riots in the national capital.
Lim’s political enemies have accused him of instigating the May 13 riots that took place 43 years ago, but some researchers have blamed the violence on an Umno-led procession that began at the then Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Harun Idris’ residence.
Mazlan said he had heard from a former deputy home minister of the alleged flagpole incident, but said he could not prove the truth of the statement.
“I don’t want to say whether it’s true or not but I was informed by a former deputy minister in the Home Ministry — his name doesn’t have to be mentioned — who read this report, this sensitive report that says Kit Siang urinated (at the flagpole), he read [sic].”
“If he lied, then I lie, that’s why many people are asking (that) all reports about May 13 be revealed,” he said.
Mazlan also said the former deputy minister had read a confidential police report in relation to the bloody May 13 tragedy.
“Kit Siang, I saw in (his) blog, he made a denial, he was not here, he was at Sabah,” said Mazlan, adding that “maybe the police mistaken identity (sic), I don’t know.”
“But I was informed by this (former) deputy minister that Kit Siang urinated (at the flagpole) and I believe Shuhaimi’s film is based on the police report, the Home Ministry report,” he added.
“Tanda Putera” director Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba has said the 117-minute long film does not depict any prominent DAP leaders in a negative light as alleged.
“There have been allegations that the character of a prominent DAP leader has been featured in this film. We would like to reiterate that there is no such character in ‘Tanda Putera’,” Shuhaimi told a news conference last week.
Lim had previously strongly denied the allegations made in a photo posted on “Tanda Putera” movie’s Facebook page, where a caption said that he had urinated at the flagpole at the residence of the then Selangor Mentri Besar.
Mazlan called on the public to stop digging up the past events of May 13, saying that it was unfair to his father Harun Idris who had passed on.
“People like Datuk Harun have passed away, he does not have the chance to tell his version.”
“So if we bring up things which people say the dead cannot answer, in Islam also we think this is unfair.”
“Like Kit Siang he can answer, he’s alive; like Datuk Harun he cannot answer,” he said.
Under fire from pro-Umno bloggers who have persistently accused the DAP opposition leader of instigating the bloodbath 43 years ago, Lim maintains he couldn’t have provoked the riots in the capital city as he “was simply not in Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13 of 1969.”
He has also taken to narrating his version of history over popular video-sharing site YouTube.
The 1969 general election saw the Umno-led coalition, then known as the Alliance, losing its two-thirds parliamentary majority and its popular vote to the opposition for the first time since the nation’s independence in 1957.
The Alliance’s shocking defeat was then followed by Malaysia’s worst ethnic riot, which some reports say caused over 2,000 deaths.
Lim, who was then only a first-time polls contender, won the Kota Melaka parliamentary seat in 1969.
He had previously only worked as a reporter and a former political secretary to Devan Nair, the Bangsar MP and People’s Action Party (PAP) member.
Lim, who was still new in the political scene then, was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for 18 months after the riots in Kuala Lumpur.
In the 2008 general election, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition suffered a fate similar to the Alliance in the 1969 elections, losing its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament.
However, BN managed to retain its majority vote and stayed in power.
The May 13 riots have been repeatedly brought up by BN as a “bogeyman” to persuade voters to continue to support the coalition.
Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was reported telling Malaysian youths to stand united to avoid another racial clash like the 1969 riots.
His statement came ahead of the 13th general election that is expected to be the closest fight between BN and the federal opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
But a poster on Umno Youth’s official Facebook page last Saturday suggesting a vote for PR will catapult Christianity into Islam’s unquestioned position as Malaysia’s religion shows faith and race are still being used as a bogey to scare off the crucial Malay-Muslim vote in the run-up to national polls.
The controversial poster had read: “Jika anda setuju untuk jadikan KRISTIAN sebagai agama rasmi persekutuan Malaysia, teruskan sokongan anda kepada Pakatan Rakyat. (If you agree to make CHRISTIANITY the official religion of the federation of Malaysia, continue supporting Pakatan Rakyat.) ‘God bless you my son’.”
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has denied his team was responsible for uploading the poster, and had removed it the same day it was put up.
But the poster has provoked an uproar on the popular social network, with some cyber citizens supporting the statement and others condemning Umno Youth for attempting to fan emotions and religious sentiments between Christians and Muslims on the eve of Aidilfitri, one of the biggest holidays in multicultural Malaysia’s calendar.
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